Though the whole purpose of this meeting is to bring together disparate racing cultures, punters can hardly know beforehand how the varied form lines will measure up. In pure value terms, however, it seems a little presumptuous to be making So You Think a warm favourite for the Dubai World Cup, not least when the reputation that preceded him from Australia last year ultimately seemed to be placed in due perspective.
True, a horse this tough seems guaranteed to get involved, but the Japanese are consistently underestimated on their overseas ventures and provided first and second last year. Pick of their three raiders this time round may be Eishin Flash, really catching the eye out here after keeping the best of company in his homeland.
The American runners, equally, are both proven at the elite level, albeit may be most effective on dirt rather than this synthetic surface. But the local stable, Godolphin, has a history of going close with outsiders in recent years and a case can be made for all four of its contenders this time. Monterosso (6.40) was arguably unlucky not to win this last year, when a close third after meeting traffic. That was only his second start for Mahmood Al Zarooni and, plainly entitled to improve for his only spin since, he is far too big at 25-1.
Though Beaten Up has quickly looked eligible for this grade, connections of So You Think will be hard to stop with St Nicholas Abbey (6.00) in the Sheema Classic. Wrote, Ballydoyle's other Breeders' Cup winner last autumn, also has a big chance in the UAE Derby but it is worth giving a second chance to Daddy Long Legs (3.25) after his contrasting performance for the stable in Louisville.
On a cosmopolitan card The Factor (4.35), Dark Shadow (5.25) and Prohibit (4.00) seem decent value to export dirhams to America, Japan and Britain respectively, but Godolphin look set for a home win with Fox Hunt (2.45).
Back on home soil the new turf season opens with the William Hill Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster. Fury looked potentially top-class as a juvenile and, after serial disappointments last term, could prove well treated now he has been gelded. But Light From Mars (3.15) is unarguably down to a fair mark and shaped well in his trial, his first start for John Quinn. In the consolation race Mont Ras (2.05) likewise remains lightly raced for a respected Yorkshire stable.
Chris McGrath's Nap
Waffle (2.40 Doncaster) Lost his way after the Wokingham, when just failing to give weight to the top-class Deacon Blues, but plainly goes well fresh judged on another superb run first time out at this meeting.
Jehanbux (3.30 Kempton) Won on his reappearance last year before hitting the buffers in the summer, and champion trainer considers him worth persevering with.
One To Watch
Union Rags puts his credentials as Kentucky Derby favourite on the line in Florida tonight.
Where the money's going
Treasure Beach is 15-2 from 9-1 with Coral for the Sheema Classic at Meydan, while Eishin Flash is 11-1 from 12-1 for the Dubai World Cup.